Senate Democrats on Thursday stalled President Donald Trump’s request for $250 billion to supplement a “paycheck protection” program for businesses crippled by the coronavirus outbreak, demanding protections for minority-owned businesses and money for health care providers and state and local governments.
They sidetracked a request by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to give the unanimous consent necessary to fast-track Trump’s request.
“We need more funding and we need it fast,” McConnell said as he opened the Senate, assuring them there would be future bills to deal with other issues.
Democrats’ demands sparked a spirited response from McConnell, who implored them not to block “emergency aid you do not even oppose just because you want something more.”
“Nobody thinks this will be the Senate’s last word on COVID-19. We don’t have to do everything right now,” McConnell said. “Let’s continue to work together, with speed and bipartisanship. We will get through this crisis together.”
Pelosi said McConnell’s request “simply can’t” advance through the Democratic-controlled House under unanimous consent.
The future of the legislation is likely to be largely determined by a small, familiar group of senior Washington hands, including Pelosi, McConnell and Mnuchin, along with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.